Reforming the Common Fisheries Policy

Reforming the Common Fisheries Policy

Jill Wakefield

This book takes a critical view of the policy and law governing EU marine fisheries and the effect of the 2013 reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). Reforms to the CFP are impeded by Treaty-guaranteed concessions, exemptions from general environmental legislation and the Court of Justice’s creation of principles unique to the sector. The author discusses how damaging effects of fishing could be ameliorated if the Court were to align fisheries principles with general principles of law, and considers the institutional and regulatory frameworks needed to encourage prudent resource use.

Chapter 2: International treaties and instruments: The right to exploit the living marine resource

Jill Wakefield

Subjects: environment, energy policy and regulation, environmental law, environmental politics and policy, law - academic, environmental law, maritime law, politics and public policy, environmental governance and regulation, environmental politics and policy


This chapter describes the framework of international legal instruments that have formed the basis of EU fisheries regulation. A raft of measures have been adopted by the international community to protect living marine resources and to promote environmental sustainability. However, the most significant impact of international law with regard to fisheries has been to entrench the right of States to exploit the living marine resource. Environmental measures confirm the right to extract at the maximum sustainable level, but do not elaborate how such a level is to be determined, leaving the marine resource susceptible to overexploitation. The limitation on protection is sought to be overcome through a non-binding FAO Code of Conduct which attempts to substitute a notion of a right to use the fish resource in place of the right of exploitation recognised in international law.

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